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J Neurophysiol. 2005 Jan;93(1):267-80. Epub 2004 Jul 7.

Comparative morphology of rodent vestibular periphery. II. Cristae ampullares.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Illinois at Chicago, M/C 512 808 S. Wood St., Room 578, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.
U IL, Chicago


We made flattened neuroepithelial preparations of horizontal and vertical (anterior and posterior) cristae from mouse, rat, gerbil, guinea pig, chinchilla, and tree squirrel. Calretinin immunohistochemistry was used to label the calyx class of afferents. Because these afferents are restricted to the central zone of the crista, their distribution allowed us to delineate this zone. In addition to calyx afferents, calretinin also labels approximately 5% of type I hair cells and 20% of type II hair cells throughout the mouse and rat crista epithelium. Measurements of the dimensions of the cristae and counts of hair cells and calyx afferents were determined on all species. Numbers of calyx afferents, hair cells, area, length, and width of the sensory epithelium increase from mouse to tree squirrel. As in the companion paper, we obtained additional data on vestibular end organ dimensions from the literature to construct a power law function describing the relationship between crista surface area and body weight. The vertical cristae of the mouse, rat, and gerbil have an eminentia cruciatum, a region located transversely along the midpoint of the sensory organ and consisting of nonsensory cells. Apart from this eminentia cruciatum, there are no statistical differences between horizontal and vertical cristae with regard to area, width, length, the number and type of hair cells, and number of calretinin-labeled calyx afferents.

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